Title: A Bond of Necessity (Part 12)
Verse: G1 AU
Rating: PG
Characters: Mirage, Hound, and Wheeljack
Warnings: mentions of sparkmerging

Time Reference:
astrosecond ~ one second
klick ~ one minute
joor ~ one hour
cycle ~ one day
deca-cycle ~ one week
orn ~ one month
vorn ~ one year

(I do not own Transformers.)

A/N: I am sorry for the brief delay getting this chapter posted. Thank you to the following for their reviews: GrimsonAshes, renegadewriter8, Blip-chan, Sounddrive, Darkeyes17, BoredTech, CrazygrrlXD, and Fianna9. You all helped this story gain over 100 reviews!

"We merged completely."

"I can't believe you are telling me this."

"We certainly generated enough charge to create a spark."

"Too much information, Hound."

"Wheeljack, we've been trying for two vorns!"

"I really don't think… wait. Did you say you've been trying for two vorns?"

Hound and Mirage nodded at their friend as they shared energon in the sitting room.

"Why are you telling me this?" Wheeljack asked quietly. "Isn't this something you should be discussing with a medic?"

Mirage made a face before he answered. "Normally we would, but with Hound being of less-than-noble origins, it is likely that we would simply be dismissed and it would be blamed on Hound. I am not willing to accept that. Both of us are in top condition. There shouldn't be a reason for us to fail to create a spark."

Hound looked miserable at that moment as if he really did blame himself. Mirage reached over and grasped his bondmate's servo in his own. "We will find out what is going on. I am convinced this is not any fault of our own."

"How can you be so sure?" Hound asked sadly. "You were constructed with utmost care. All of your systems are perfect. We can't be sure about mine."

"Hound," Mirage said softly. "You were constructed as a slave. You would have been expected to produce offspring for the financial gain of your master. I know it sounds awful but it is true. I believe your systems are fine as well."

Wheeljack looked at the couple and thought for a while. "I suppose that I can try to help but you must remember that I am not a medic."

"We are fine with that," Mirage told him. "Even if we could find a medic to look at our case, it is likely that news would spread, despite supposed medic-patient confidentiality, and that would put Hound in an unfavorable light. I want to spare him from that."

Hound looked at Mirage gratefully at that and smiled as he sent a surge of love through their bond.

"Two vorns is a long time," Wheeljack pondered. "Okay. Stop by my lab the next cycle and I'll see what I can do." He smiled at his friends, anxious to help them. "In the meantime, how about some more of that high grade, Mirage?"

The following cycle Mirage and Hound went to Wheeljack's lab. It was quite a sight with components and half-finished projects strewn everywhere. Mirage looked as though he was having second thoughts about this but Hound pulled him into the lab and called for Wheeljack. The engineer emerged from behind a project streaked with ash but in good spirits.

"I searched for what information I could find about how to check your systems. Between that and what I already know from my engineering background, I think I can quickly rule out some of the more common problems."

The couple smiled at that and sat down once Wheeljack had cleared a sufficient area for them to sit. Wheeljack carefully hooked up a number of cables and sensors and told them to simply relax while he checked various systems. After close to half a joor, Wheeljack looked up at them and smiled. "Well, I can verify that you are generating enough charge to generate a spark."

Mirage looked surprised and a bit self-conscious about that. Wheeljack picked up on it and explained, "It's in your log files. You just have to know how to access and interpret them. The medics get annoyed at anyone else knowing how to do it." He fell silent again studying the logs. After a while he disconnected the cables and turned off the monitors. He pulled up a chair and sat facing his friends. "I don't know what to tell you. Both of your log files appear to be normal. You are generating sufficient charge and there are no warnings or errors that would prevent sparking."

The couple looked at each other and then back at Wheeljack. "So there's nothing you can do?" Hound said sadly.

Wheeljack's light fins lit up. "Oh no! Didn't say that at all. It will take some time but I will help you figure this out. With your permission, I would like to make some inquiries." He saw the look of apprehension on their faceplates. "Don't worry, I'll be discrete. I will not provide any information that would reveal your identities."

Mirage nodded. "Please, we need to find out why we have not been able to spark."

Wheeljack looked over at Hound to make sure he had the former slave's permission as well. They left soon afterwards with a promise to keep in touch and even planned a social visit to Wheeljack's home in three cycles. The engineer then turned back to his latest project but half of his processor was thinking about his friends. Something about this situation bothered him but he couldn't quite think of what it was. Something he remembered reading in the news feeds. For some reason, Wheeljack was thinking that he needed to see if he had any contacts in Praxus.

This is the final chapter of this arc… PLEASE DO NOT KILL ME! It is not my intent to make anyone angry with the developments in this chapter as it is part of a much larger story. Yes, the next arc brings us back to Praxus where Ratchet and Wheeljack try to solve a mystery. (Why are nobles failing to spark?) *runs and hides*